Genre: Playscript, Fantasy
Date Published: 31st July 2016
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Buy: Amazon // Book Depository // Little Brown UK
Australia: Angus & Robertson // Booktopia
Follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter //Follow Jack Thorne on Twitter
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
I’m sure everyone knows what this book is about. So I won’t rehash it for you. However, what I’ll do is link to this AMAZING post by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks where she discusses some points to help you not be disappointed when reading this.
If I were to sum this review up in a GIF it would be:
It’s quite hard to review this properly without mentioning spoilers, so further down I’ll be discussing some things that will be SPOILERS GALORE. I’ll definitely give an appropriate warning though.
The Cursed Child is first and foremost a play. I could easily see which lines were written solely to get a reaction from the audience. You can’t go into this expecting to read a book similar to the previous seven. There’s no description or build up because it relies on our prior knowledge of the universe. Again, I can’t complain about this because it’s a script. I know some people might be feeling disappointed because one of my favourite things about the Harry Potter series was the vivid imagery that J.K. Rowling created. That’s another important thing to remember J.K. Rowling didn’t write this script.
I know there’s a lot of debate about whether this should be included in canon and I think that as long as you’re being respectable that decision is entirely your own. Personally, for me, I hated the epilogue in Deathly Hallows so I just imagine book 7 ended on the last chapter. I think the great thing about books is that we can make the story our own. Canon doesn’t have to be everything.
The experience I had whilst reading this was absolutely magical. The moment I read the first page I felt like I had been transported back into time. It actually felt surreal. It was just so great being back in the world of Harry Potter. I was reminded just how much I loved these characters and how important this book series is to me. I had a very emotional reading experience. My parents probably thought I was crazy because I was talking to myself the whole way through. I remember walking around the house with my Kindle and taking it with me when I had to go do some grocery shopping and I felt like I was 15 again and reading Order of the Phoenix for the first time. I had the most amazing time reading this book.
However, I had some issues with the plot. Again, it had nothing to do with the script format. I knew going into this to expect a rapid pace – that wasn’t the problem. I hate saying this, but at times The Cursed Child read like fan fiction and not the good kind. I’m in no way trying to shame fan fiction – I think it’s amazing. However, as a published work I expect not to see every cliche trope that’s ever existed crammed in. Maybe this is my fault for having read fan fiction since I was 14. I just feel like at times it was a bit too ridiculous and the fan service too heavily obvious.
Then there’s the characters. This is set nineteen years after Deathly Hallows so the Golden Trio and co. are all middle aged adults now. They definitely are going to be different to their teenage selves, but to me they felt too different at times. Certain things happened that I could NEVER imagine them doing. I’m aware that everyone in this series is flawed and that’s what I love about it, but even then I couldn’t see some things that went down happening.
“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”
That’s pretty much all I can say without spoiling anything. I had a seriously hard time trying to decide on a rating. If I was reviewing the plot alone it would probably be 3 stars, but reading experience would have been 5 stars. I couldn’t ignore all the issues I had though so I settled on 4. I think The Cursed Child can be really enjoyable if you go in with an open mind and remember it’s a play – not J.K. Rowling writing an eight novel in the series.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK
S P O I L E R S !!!!!!
There’s so much I need to talk about. Some of it good and some of it bad. I’ve decided to break it down into sections because that’s the easiest way I can think of.
Albus & Scorpius:
Scorpius Malfoy, or as I like to call him – My Sweet Summer Child, was hands down my favourite part of this entire script. I love him. I love him. I love him. I can’t even be somewhat coherent when talking about him because I just want to hug him and keep him safe from the world. I enjoyed Albus as a character too. I’ve seen some people talk about how he was annoying, but I mean he is a teenager and he has one of the most famous wizards ever as a father. I think him being sorted in Slytherin was predictable, but an interesting concept. I think it’s a great throwback to the Sorting Hat considering to put Harry there too.
I know it wasn’t just me but I was seriously thinking the script was alluding that there’d be more than a friendship between Albus and Scorpius. The relationship between the two was beautiful and definitely one of the best parts in this entire story. I just feel like the creators really had a chance to put in some diversity, but then it ended super heteronormative. Friendships of course are just as important and I realise that’s the basis of the series and that’s what the writers were trying to put across, but I don’t know man. It would have been so awesome to see. I’ve never been on board with the end game pairings anyway so I may as well add Albus/Scorpius to the mix 😂 I mean just look at some of these moments:
Albus hugs his friend. With fierceness. They hold for a beat.
Scorpius appears at the back of the stage. He looks at his friend talking to a girl – and a part of him likes it and part of him doesn’t.
Albus: Just – we’ll be be better off without each other, okay?
Scorpius is left looking up after him. Heartbroken.
I’M SORRY, BUT??? NEW OTP ALERT TBH.
Harry Would Never:
As I mentioned before I know Harry is a flawed character. I know he can be rash and emotional and angst-y. However, he would NEVER in a million years EVER say that he wished his son wasn’t his. Not after the abuse he suffered growing up. Not one single part of me believes that Harry Potter, who was also willing to die for his friends, would say:
“Well, there are times I wish you weren’t my son.”
Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way – um, Wait!!! I Mean Delphi:
“I want a return to pure and strong magic. I want to rebirth the Dark.”
I’m laughing again just reading this quote and thinking about Delphi’s character. I’m convinced she was based on our favourite Slytherin goth – Ebony. Voldemort having a kid is just so trope-y I can’t deal. And I’m a Voldie/Bellatrix shipper. So. I wasn’t expecting there to be J.K. Rowling plot twists in this, but I predicted Delphi wasn’t who she says is the moment she showed up.
It may seem ridiculous to some, but one of the biggest issues I had with this book is the way Hermione was portrayed in the alternate timeline where she was a Defense against the Dark Arts professor. The fact that it was implied that Hermione would turn into an angry, psychopathic, crazy lady because she didn’t marry Ron really got under my skin. Mercedes talked about it in her review and I found myself furiously nodding in agreement. Hermione is one of the smartest and most brilliant witches in the Wizarding World and you’re trying to tell me that the ONLY way she became successful and was happy is because she married Ron? There is not one single part of this that I will EVER accept.
Even though there was a lot of plot holes regarding the time travel I actually found it really interesting. I liked how we went back into time during events that happened at Hogwarts. Of course it would have been nice to see something new, but I appreciate the nostalgia factor.
I especially enjoyed the “dark” timeline. It was really terrifying to look back at how things could have been if Voldemort had won the war. I liked how it reiterated how important Neville was in The Final Battle. Although, I highly doubt Cedric (A HUFFLEPUFF) would become a Death Eater simply because he was “embarrassed” lmao.
The moment Umbridge showed up I felt an instant chill of disgust and terror. The fact that just reading a character’s name can still have that affect on you after all these years (pun not intended) is a sign of INCREDIBLE writing on J.K.’s behalf.
I totally accept and acknowledged that Snape he did some really shitty things and that just because at the end he was a good guy that it doesn’t excuse his past behaviour. There’s something about him that I’ve always liked though. I don’t know. I think it’s okay to like flawed characters as long as you’re able to admit their wrongdoings. I found the alternate timeline scenes with him and Scorpius some of the strongest in these scripts. I was incredibly emotional during all of them.
A list of random things that don’t really fit anywhere else
- It’s great to see that Professor McGonagall is still as badass as ever.
- I’ve never been a huge Ron fan, but the way his character was portrayed solely as comic relief didn’t sit right.
- I loved that you could still see the unspoken connection between Harry and Hermione. That’s my shipper side shining through, but whatever.
- Harry calling out Dumbledore was kind of everything.
- I like the way Draco’s character was handled. It was a homage to his character in the books, but really helped show that he could have redemption – that he deserves redemption.
- The Ministry of Magic scene were Albus was pretending to be Ron and kissed Hermione made be SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I experienced such bad secondhand embarrassment during that I thought I was going to DIE.
- CEDRIC, MY SWEET HUFFLEPUFF PRINCE.
- I know that they couldn’t have fit every single character into the play and I wasn’t expecting them to, but it would have been nice to have just a mention of Teddy or Luna.
- The moment I read “Best to do it at a bit of a run if you’re nervous” I started crying.